Our latest Industry Insider works for a national football team! We head to Scotland to speak to Ailsa Kane, Lead Video Producer at the Scottish FA about her career in sport so far…
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello I’m Ailsa Kane and I’m currently the Lead Video Producer for the Scottish FA. When I first took up this post, I was the Digital Content Producer, with a senior Video Producer taking the lead. Once they had left, I was promoted into that role, and have been responsible for all video content for nearly four years now.
Before joining the Scottish FA, I worked at the SPFL in my first full time role as their Digital Content Executive. This involved covering all their social media channels, as well as creating the content that was published.
Prior to this, I was freelancing as a Runner and Researcher for shows on BBC, ITV and MTV.
What do you do in your current role?
My current role involves producing video content for all Scottish FA channels, along with my colleague Connor. We cover everything in a production – the planning, filming and editing of the content. We are a very small team, which means we cover everything from Men’s A, SWNT, Scottish Cup, Referees to Coach Education.
I travel with the Men’s A squad across Europe and follow their journey through the camera lens, to give fans back home an inside view of the camp.
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
My day-to-day job mostly consists of planning for shoots or editing content we have already filmed. This content can be press conferences, match footage, coaching, player content, interviews etc. Every day is different and is an aspect of the role that I particularly enjoy.
During the International break, I’m mainly out filming with players, whether it be content to highlight their personality, or showcasing them on the pitch training and preparing for a match. I also travel with the squad to away matches where I capture content for fans back home.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’ve always been a massive football fan growing up. I had a season ticket with my Dad at Dundee when I was younger, although it’s a little bit more difficult now getting to these matches.
I always had a keen interest in sport throughout my childhood. I used to swim and play Waterpolo competitively, so sport has always been a real passion for me. However, it wasn’t until I was at College that I took a significant interest in filming and broadcast. From there, I applied for a Broadcast Production Degree course at the University of the West of Scotland. There were brilliant opportunities during my course to freelance in sport, so I was able to combine the two things I loved, and I knew from there that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
My number one focus is to produce the best content I can for fans. For me, I love when I see positive feedback on one of my videos from fans, especially during COVID. When fans couldn’t be at games, or no football was being shown, my priority was to help fans still enjoy football, and in particular, still feel part of it.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
I wouldn’t say I have really failed in anything, but one thing I have learned over the years is to have more self-belief and confidence in the work I do. However, I am always looking to improve every time I go behind the camera or sit in front of my screen to edit. I believe it’s essential to always try to better yourself and keep on top of your game, particularly being a female in a mainly male dominated industry.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’m really excited about the country having belief again in the National Teams. The atmosphere on a match day recently has been the best I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve been through some dark times with Scotland (the less we say about the Kazakhstan result the better), but I can see a new generation of fans coming through and enjoying being Scotland supporters.
Another exciting prospect is more Women and Girls playing football. A massive factor of this has been our SWNT qualifying for the Euros and then the World Cup right after. Growing up, it was always frowned upon if I wanted to play football, now I see young girls playing football a lot more, and it’s fantastic to see the progress, as well as the influence that they are having on the world of football.
If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?
I would love to see more paid opportunities for students. I appreciate this can be difficult, and I freelanced regularly, unpaid, as a student, which was very challenging at times. It can be extremely difficult to get an opening into this industry, especially without any experience. Some companies are very aware of this and subsequently expect students to work for free because they are so desperate to break into the industry. I would love to see more paid opportunities, so youngsters can gain relevant experience in the industry they are passionate about.
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
Ironically, I play football or go to the gym to switch off. Boring for some, yes, but for me, playing football in particular really allows me to switch off as it is the only time I don’t have my phone next to me.
When I can, I go back to Dundee to visit my family and friends as well, as I don’t get to see them much throughout the year due to the nature of my job.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Maintain good relationships and open channels of communication, never burn the bridges you have built with others throughout your career. It’s not hard to drop someone a text and ask to meet for a coffee and a chat. This is one thing that has really helped me progress over the years, especially more recently. Reach out to others in the industry to ask for advice; most are willing to help.
I’m thankful to everyone who has supported and given me advice within the industry to improve my work and myself as an individual. I’m more than happy for people to reach out to me as well. If I can help anyone in any way, I will.
Be committed and never give up.
How to connect with Ailsa Kane…
Twitter – @ailsakane
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Ailsa Kane! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.